HR Automated Recruiting Debate

Limestone College Business

Choose the statement that describes you the most.

I have highly original ideas.

I am prepared to tell people if they are mistaken.

I am modest about my accomplishments.

Sounds like a personality test? Well, it is. Though, in this case you are not just exploring your personality for fun’s sake, you’re being screened for a job.

Automated personality tests, résumé keyword searches, company culture “fit” tests, are just a few among the many automated HR recruiting practices used today.

Automated recruiting allows companies to use computerized technology to screen or filter massive influx of applicants and arrive at a smaller number of candidates who meet job requirements or specific criteria deemed crucial to job performance.

The Wall Street Journal article, “Meet the New Boss: Big Data,” discusses how big data indicators and personality tests are used to auto-recruit candidates. For example, according to data, call center staff — a position typically affected by high attrition rates — stay longer with their employer if they have a creative personality. Hence, a company like Xerox Corp. now pays less attention to an applicant’s previous job experience, and more to their personality traits that signify creativity.

The result? According to the article, “after a half-year trial that cut attrition by one fifth, Xerox now leaves all hiring for its 48,700 call-center jobs to software that asks applicants to choose between statements like: ‘I ask more questions than most people do’ and ‘People tend to trust what I say’.”

The proponents of automated recruiting such as large technology corporations stress the benefits pointing to increased recruiting efficiency at a dramatically lower cost. Similarly, many say that conventional hiring methods lack rigor, relying heavily on a manager’s “hunch” to predict how a candidate may perform on the job.

On the other side of the fence, the critics say automated recruiting is compromising the essential human element necessary to make the ultimate hiring decision. They point to cases where automated recruiting has failed, weeding out qualified candidates who simply didn’t “pass” the test.

Forbes Magazine contributor, Liz Ryan, writes “automated recruiting by means of keyword searching is undoubtedly the worst use of technology in the history of the business world…” Ryan explains, “Nearly every candidate — certainly every one with the intellect to connect the dots between [a] job ad and [the] hiring process — is going to put those very same keywords into his or her résumé or job application” making keyword algorithms useless.

Limestone students studying Human Resource Management have an opportunity to learn about recruiting methods in number of courses, allowing them to make objective decisions regarding pros and cons of this popular yet debated HR practice.

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